Athletes are very active people and that’s why nutrition is their number one priority. Listed below are five basic nutrition principles that athletes should keep in mind. So what are they? Let’s take a look at them!
Eat Real Food & Avoid Processed Foods
- When we think about it, one question comes into mind, what exactly is real food? Real food are foods that can be picked, grown, and cooked. If you’re referring to foods that are sealed into a can, then that’s not real food. Avoid eating too much processed foods if you want to stay healthy and your body will probably thank you later. Some athletes include processed foods into their diets which is not a good thing. If there’s one thing athletes should take away from their diet list, then processed foods is the right answer for that.
Fuel Up Your Body
- Eating foods before, during, and after practice is essential to get the most out of your body. Consuming a light snack such as a banana and peanut butter before doing any workouts can fill your body with protein and carbohydrates which can fuel you up throughout the day. Stay away from eating a bag of chips paired with soda before practice, these foods won’t fuel your body for long. Instead, pack your food bag with healthy foods that are rich in protein and other essential nutrients to make your body last longer in a day.
- Keep yourself hydrated too by bringing a bottle of water with you. Although water is good, it doesn’t always replenish what you’ve lost during long hours of workouts and practices. That’s why it’s also important to choose drinks that has a lot of BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) to keep your energy levels on peak during your practices.
Consume Complete Meals
- Complete meals can fuel up your body with a good portion of protein, carbs, and fats. During meals, make sure that your plate is filled with foods that are rich in protein and carbs. Don’t forget your veggies too, some young athletes skip on this one which is definitely wrong. They may not be flavorful as meat can be, but their rich in different essential nutrients that’s necessary for your body. Here’s a list breaking down foods in their respective nutrient.
- Protein-rich foods: chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, beans.
- Carb-rich foods: fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts and oats, wheat bread, rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes.
- Healthy fat-rich foods: avocados, cheese, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, olive oil, peanut butter.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
- Being referred as the most important meal of the day, you should always eat breakfast to keep your body going throughout the day. But before that, a couple glasses of water should be taken first to rehydrate and wake up your body. Starting your day empty can lead to serious issues later on that’s why it’s important to eat something than nothing. Eggs and bacon paired with whole wheat toast or yogurt is perfect for that daily dose of a healthy breakfast.
- So many young athletes tend not to eat enough which results to them feeling empty when the day is over. From early morning workouts, a whole day at school, followed by practice and sports training throughout the night, there’s no denying eating a lot will really help their bodies to cope up after a tiring day.
- Athletes are looking to make their body bigger, faster, stronger, and build muscle and in order to achieve this is by fueling their bodies. So how do you fuel up our bodies? By eating five meals a day. Here’s a list on what foods to eat during these meals.
- Breakfast: Eggs, Bacon, Toast, Water
- Mid-morning snack: Yogurt & Granola
- Lunch: Chicken/Turkey, Spinach, Salad, Fruit, Almonds, Water
- Pre-Practice snack: PB&J. Banana
- Post-Practice snack: Protein shake, Gatorade drink
- Dinner: Lean beef, Asparagus, Sweet Potato
Athletes’ bodies are like cars that needs to be fueled regularly in order to work. That’s why it’s important to fuel it up with the right foods that contains essential nutrients and avoid the ones that don’t. Think of it as a Ferrari, are you going to fuel it up with cheap gas or premium gas? Off course we’ll go for the premium one! Just like the body, we need to pick high quality foods to help it do more throughout the day.